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Cubs Trade Target: Chris Archer

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What would it take to bring the tall righthander back into the Cubs organization?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Archer. Acquired by the Cubs in trade, became a top prospect, traded away in a deal that didn’t work out in any sense, and became one of the better starters in the American League.

Until 2016, when Archer’s performance fell. But his overall numbers don’t tell the full story of his 2016 season. Consider this:

17 starts through June 30: 4.76 ERA, 1.454 WHIP, 17 home runs
16 starts after July 1: 3.32 ERA, 1.039 WHIP, 13 home runs

So Archer, after being one of the worst starters in the league in the first three months, recovered after July 1 to post numbers quite similar to his overall totals from 2013-15.

Unlike a lot of other Rays starters who have been traded, Archer is actually under contract for several more seasons. He’s signed through 2019 for $19 million, quite reasonable in today’s market. The Rays have team options for $9 million for 2020 and $11 million for 2021, with buyouts that would total $2 million for those two years. The contract should be reasonable for its duration, as Archer just turned 28 in September.

So they don’t have to trade him -- not for financial reasons, anyway — but might if they were enticed with an offer.

Jorge Soler seems the obvious opening bid here. Soler would fit in well as a DH in Tampa. Of course, it would take more than Soler to get Archer.

What would you send to the Rays to make Archer a part of the Cubs’ rotation?